Boehner out: Who would want any job in GOP leadership?
No doubt House Republicans will elect someone to be their new speaker now that Ohio Rep. John Boehner is resigning at the end of October. But to call the house speakership with the current radical GOP membership a “thankless job” is like calling a tornado a gentle breeze.
Boehner stunned the political world by announcing — seemingly out of nowhere — that he was calling it quits. He said publicly that he had made the decision “just this morning” after praying about it, but he’s been fighting the Tea Party-led House conservatives since he took over as speaker after the 2010 election. There have been rumblings about ousting Boehner for years, and the Ohio Republican probably figured that the job just wasn’t worth it anymore. Time to take his tanning bed and go home.
Later reports said Boehner had been planning to leave the speaker’s post earlier and to let former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor take over as speaker. But Cantor was ousted in a Republican primary by a Tea Party candidate in his Virginia district in 2014, forcing Boehner to stay in charge.
Steve Benen, on Rachel Maddow’s blog, called the House speakership “the worst job in Washington.” The cliche about “herding cats” doesn’t do justice to the problem of trying to appease and placate the GOP House radicals, who have derailed much legislation Boehner and his deputies tried to pass. Those same radicals are again threatening a government shutdown, this one tied to defunding Planned Parenthood. One of Boehner’s last acts probably will be to pass a short-term government funding bill with mostly Democratic votes.
Several in higher GOP posts already have announced that they won’t seek the speaker’s post, likely leaving it open for the current House majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. Like Boehner, he’s considered more of a moderate, at least by current GOP standards. Rep. Steven Scalise, the House majority whip who once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” said he would run for majority leader, leaving the speakership for McCarthy.
In his short congressional career, Kevin McCarthy has sponsored only two bills that actually passed, Benen wrote: one renaming a post office and one renaming a flight research center. “Now he’s going to be speaker of the House and second in the line of presidential succession?” Benen asked. Doesn’t leave you with much confidence, does it?
And lest you think those anti-incumbent feelings are confined to one house of Congress, consider what Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told the ultra-conservative attendees at the Values Voters Summit. The presidential contender (albeit with less than one percent support in national polls) drew loud applause when he also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to turn in his Senate credentials.
Jindal said he was “actually angrier with the Republicans than with the Democrats” because they “don’t do the things they say they’re going to do,” according to a report on Talking Points Memo. “It is time to fire these clowns and restore order once and for all.” This, from a governor whose approval ratings in his own state reached an all-time low of 27 percent earlier this year.
Well, sure. President Obama hasn’t been impeached, and he’s still black.
Earlier, another GOP presidential contender with higher polling numbers, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, got a “roaring standing ovation” at the same meeting when he told the crowd that Boehner was leaving. According to an online story from The Hill, Rubio told the gleeful attendees that it was time for GOP leadership to “turn the page.”
“Turn the page” — you wonder what book they’ll be reading next. Maybe something by Ayn Rand?
So the GOP base, including the die-hards at the Value Voters Summit, are willing to throw all the bums out and elect someone with little or no experience as congressional leaders or as president. People like real estate mogul and would-be narcissist-in-chief Donald Trump, who says he’ll deport 12 million immigrants “warmly and humanely”; pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who considers the Constitution an inconvenience when it comes to separating church and state; or failed former HP executive Carly Fiorina, whose super PAC had to scramble to create a video to resemble the make-believe one she described in criticizing Planned Parenthood during the last GOP presidential debate.
Those three, of course, are leading in current polls. Good luck, America.